Chimes, Gurgaon

Lily Pond | Image © Design Atelier

CH[3] | Image © Design Atelier

Project Name: Chimes, Gurgaon
Architectural Group: Design Atelier, New Delhi
Architects: Aashish Karode, Prosenjit Banerjee
Client: Chimes Group
Project Location: Gurgaon, India
Project Area: 87120 sq.ft
Built Up Area: 2,80,000 sq.ft
Project Type: 
Office Space
Project Year: 2012
Image Courtesy: Design Atelier, New Delhi
Text: Design Atelier, New Delhi

[learn_more caption=”Consultants”]
  • Mechanical: Dewpoint
  • Civil: Jaspal Singh
  • Façade: Design Atelier
  • Graphics: CoDesign
  • HVAC: Dewpoint
  • Structural: Roark Consultants
  • Landscape: Artemisia
  • Plumbing: Saviram
  • Electrical: T.S. Sethi Associates
  • LEED Facilitator: WIPRO[/learn_more]
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]mproved performance and Sustainable practices in Architecture and Urban design have had a staggering impact on businesses as also on the entire economy. In fact a 60% of the power consumed by the economy is accounted for by the built environment. To be exemplary in Indian cities, architecture today must not only be graceful, but should also be seen to offer a hardworking, environmentally sensitive and sustainable energy design in keeping with the resource-scarce times we live in. The architecture of sustainable buildings will shortly become the hardest working investment for building owners. When aligned to a powerful architectural idea and a business vision, it will at once make buildings economically viable, cut excesses and optimize costs, provide a great fit for the end users while offering meaningful solutions that are conservative with the use of space, land, soil, energy and water. Not the least, of course is that great design remains attractive to owners, buyers and tenants.

Lily Pond | Image © Design Atelier

Architecture of the Chimes Building is about creating public spaces that are accessible and enable the experience of nature within the spaces of the building, symbolizing life inside the building. The design of the building addresses issues of sustainability, sociability, making room for nature, and program flexibility. The building mass is specially developed to demonstrate a novel solution for a multi-tenanted office building with floor plate size flexibility to create a mix of tenants from various service sectors and industries. To create a high profile address, it was envisioned to organize each floor as potentially heterogeneous open-plan environments that can be combined or be separated by user requests with controlled indoor environments and amenities to suit a variety of needs for large and small businesses organized to share common community resources set up in the building.

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Goals for the Project

Create a specific form, responsive to the Sun, climatic conditions and local setting

Return to the building crafts as the founding premise of all artistry and design activity

Landscape based movement- solutions for the formation of more humane architecture, responding to a future society

Improve building performance and apply Sustainable practices to all aspects of the design and building construction

Spatial Planning

The design of the building emphasizes diversity of all kinds: juxtapositions of people, functions, built forms, spaces, and activities are just some of the fundamental elements that help encourage an inclusive and sustainable public sphere that thrives at all times of the day and night. The building is raised up from the ground on pilotis, allowing free-flowing open spaces under the building shaded from the harsh sun, with a variety of water pools and guided streams cooling the air, and plants growing within and around the building on the site to cool the ground. A variety of public spaces are created at ground level that is accessible, shaded and close to nature. These spaces encourage serendipitous meetings, foster community engagement and active participation in urban work life.

CH[5] | Image © Design Atelier

At the ground, the concept of openness, spaces flowing together, plays a major factor in the design. The public areas including a restaurant/café are located on the ground floor, with smaller spaces to encourage people to meet spontaneously for coffee or for informal meetings. Various spaces for public functions are offered- an open air performing arts theatre, a cafeteria and a future exhibition space, and a restaurant. A number of available conference rooms, meeting lounges form a complete sociable and efficient center for the complex to respond to all nature of business requirements. Sky terraces attached to each floor plate connect to nature during the work day.

The Visuality and Sociability of the Journey path

To maximize the use of green spaces and the views from within and outside and make use of the ground, otherwise lost to building footprint, the design places the gardens around glass-lined movement corridors and Staircase cores. The journey path through the spaces of the building, Lift lobbies, holding areas, social spaces, cafeteria and reception are located along the way and designed as people places that suggest the idea of diverse experience of graded light and shaded spaces, landscape variation to include plant and animal life (etched into the stone surfaces), air, earth, and water as part of each of the pauses and transition experiences. Visual connections are made through glass courtyards, corridors, and lobbies, together with the complex interconnections and interpenetrations of interior spaces, the interplay of light and choices of just a few material finishes. The symbolism of the landscape and the architectural artifact are intended to enliven the whole ensemble.

CH[6] | Image © Design Atelier

Form Development and Building Façades

The form development follows the idea of raising the building on pilotis to relieve the ground and give back the landscape to the ground- creating a sociable and welcoming space of the entrance reception- a glass cube set in a water garden, using plants as tree cover and water as climate modulators. A variety of water bodies and plants growing around the and inside the building to cool the ground, and transform it into a space with positive energy, shaded social spaces, and graded light, open spaces and light wells working as courtyards that relieve the bulk of the form and supply natural light to the inside of the office floor plates. The Faceted Plan form orientation allows self-shading from the South and West and has larger surfaces on the benign directions of the North and East. It recesses from the street corner allowing sight lines, and shows the building “in the round”. The form also creates green areas and landscape opportunities that are accessible to groups of users. The offices occupy six upper levels, and as a novel solution for a multi-tenanted office building. The Floor Plans consist of four interconnected floor plate blocks of varied size and scale organized around climate modifying, natural light giving courtyards.

CH[4] | Image © Design Atelier

Flexible Floor Plates

The floor plates are modular, independently equipped with amenities/ facilities for modern office requirements and can be combined into heterogeneous open plan environments to suit a variety of needs for a mix of large and small businesses sharing common community resources set up in the building. With this profile, the flexibility in floor plate size makes for best possible marketing to create a mix of tenants from various service sectors and industries

CH[9] | Image © Design Atelier

Regulating Heat Gain- Solar Facade

The Solar Façade is a significant and a “signifying” building enclosure that follows specific functional requirements and carries efficient supply systems for the “machine”. Its dimensions, proportions and scale are not just dictated by the guidelines of customary municipal law. The Façade design is guided by its visibility and response to the street corner, visibility from the surrounding spaces and the main roads and to the climatic considerations of the solar path, Natural Light penetration and Breezes. It is equally about imaging a sensible notion of contemporariness, with formal and material choice that echo the historic form of massive Indian wall making that rejects heat and the high sun, but allows filtered natural light. The North allows light, but rejects reflected heat, the ribbon windows on the west, east and south faces are set high on the floor plate to allow the deeper penetration of a limited amount of the harsher western and southern light, but freely allows internal courtyard reflected light and North light to penetrate the plates through large treated glass surfaces. The heat gain thus reduced is further mitigated by the use of use of heat reflective paint and the insulated wall section. A number of strip windows in the otherwise massive walls are used to visually connect the interior and the exterior and is mitigated by the use of anti-dazzle e-glass so people do not lose touch with the natural environment while at work. Outsiders get curious glimpses of light and activity through the façade that activates the otherwise solid building as a place of action.

CH[8] | Image © Design Atelier

Parking and Transportation

The insatiable demand for parking is met by the provision for a double stack parking system (that addresses the needs of commuters), extra capacity preferred parking spaces for car poolers, and parking for the electric shuttle to connect with the future metro nearby. In response to the increasing parking problem, and loss of ground space, the building is designed with limited surface parking, but equipped with special double-layered park lift systems in both basements to accommodate nearly double the car parking capacity otherwise possible. This facilitates an office building without visible cars and frees the ground to landscape and a pleasing outdoor environment. Sustainable “Carbon Footprint” The architecture is used to develop the building marked by energy efficiency, 0perational convenience, low operational cost and optimized investment costs. It focuses not only on the façade, sun shading, and lighting details but above all, also on minimizing the energy consumption of the building while optimizing natural light consumption. The building is glazed on the benign North face and on shaded facades with higher performance glass responsive to the conditions. On exposed and direct heat receiving faces a solar façade of small openings set up high on the floor allow less direct heat and maximizes penetrations of light into the plate.

Returning the Ground to Landscape

The building consists four interconnected floor plate blocks of varied size and scale organized around climate modifying, natural-light-giving courtyards. These floor plates are independently equipped with amenities/ facilities for all modern office requirements. They are located atop a podium of stilted columns that are designed to return the ground to the extension of the landscaped garden. Trees are planted to provide shade to the hard surfaces and parking areas, and reduce the heat island effect.

Contextual Responses

Building mass models were developed prior to construction to harmonize the building heights and day lighting conditions and enhance the engagement of a dialogue with the disparate surrounding environments. The complex interconnections and interpenetrations of interior spaces, the interplay of light and the choices of just a few material finishes, the symbolism of the landscape and the architectural artifact enliven the whole ensemble.

CH[7] | Image © Design Atelier

Modular Back-Up Generation

Power generation for Athena is designed to be automatically initiated to real time demand parameters (Synchronized modular DG sets) with reduced wastage of fuel. Banks of modular generators and Uninterrupted power supply (for critical circuits) systems kick in on power failure. Full capacity power generation for all power requirements sensed by the demand sensors is available 24 /7 to users of the building.

Thermal Storage Chillers

The air-conditioning at Athena is designed to store ice for cooling during the day, and creating ice in off-peak nighttime hours. Each floor plate and user is provided tap offs to use recycled chilled water for cooling their respective floor plates. Common areas and night time uses have special separate units to provide air conditioning on demand. All server rooms have additional 24 hours fixed split A/C units.

Security and Surveillance

In addition to 24/7 security systems including cameras at exits and entries, manned gates and reception the building provides a secure and surveilled protected enclosure. All amenities for visitors and external guest including dining/cafeteria are available inside the complex, with limited ingress of external staff. Convenient meeting places and receptacles for hand deliveries are available at reception.

Independent Controlled Floors

Athena allows both individually controllable and integrated central control for lighting, fire alarm safety, heating. And air-conditioning. Exhaust ventilation using the night time reduction of temperature, and pre-cooled recirculation of intake air during the day following exhaust air ventilation is also separately controllable on each floor.

Replenishing Ground Water

Rain water and other runoff is harvested via deep-discharge rainwater harvesting pits on the site that help toreplenish the ground water. Special driveway grass paving material is used to create a porous, soft, soil based topsurface for easy percolation of runoff.

Recycling Waste and Water

A unique recycling program is adopted that allows waste paper, heat, organics and waste water to be harvested and recycled on a day-to-day basis. Waste leaves are composted in the landscape; water is treated and reused in irrigation and fountains, exhaust air heat is recovered and used to temper fresh air temperature.

Sociability-Features and Movement

The architecture aims to create a sociable work environment that encourages serendipitous meetings, and friendships beyond narrow domestic boundaries. The design places the gardens and corridors around movement cores, and the building envelope thus evolves as a series of linear blocks placed obliquely to the sun and the street. This maximizes the use of green spaces and the views from within and outside and makes use of the ground, otherwise lost to building footprint. The building is provided with a conjoined series of service cores and floor plates of varied sizes that allow flexibility and allowing it to remain a sustainable structure for its life span.

CH[10] | Image © Design Atelier

The idea is to make a series of flexible floor plates for tenant use above the pilotis that respond to the space requirements of a diverse clientele of both large and small businesses that have an appreciation of the diversity of the settings in the buildings. The position of the sky terraces and solar facades are a complex integration of the whole idea achieved through the material, technology and insulating properties of the shell, oriented to climatic advantage.

Awards/Recognition: LEED (IGBC) Gold- Core & Shell Category


[author] [author_image][/author_image] [author_info]Design Atelier is a multifaceted Architecture, Interiors and Urban Design Firm, based out of New Delhi that is founded on the belief that architecture and design provide a sense of grace to life and we believe that matters.[/author_info] [/author]